It's not summer in Rhode Island without an ozone alert day. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is predicting air quality will reach unhealthy levels Wednesday in most of the state, according to a news release.
DEM predicts that conditions will be at their worst in the mid to late afternoon as a "very warm and very humid" air mass will be present at that time.
Regular RIPTA bus services will be free Wednesday, according to the DEM announcement.
The Department of Health warns these unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma/other respiratory ailments – all worsened by exercise and heavy activity. The children, elderly and people with underlying lung diseases are particularly at risk of suffering from these effects.
Avoid these effects by limiting outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and staying in an air-conditioned environment, if possible, during the peak hours.
Want to help eliminate these lovely ozone alert days? Below are some tips on how to contribute to lower ground level ozone levels:
- Limit driving. Avoid unnecessary car trips and carpool, walk or ride a bus/bicycle whenever possible.
- Minimize starts and avoid unnecessary acceleration. Vehicle emissions are highest during starting and acceleration.
- Reduce idling. Avoid congested traffic and lines at drive-through windows.
- Drive your lowest emission vehicle. Use the most fuel-efficient, usually the newest, car you have whenever possible.
- Refuel at stations with vapor recovery. Fill your tank at a station equipped with Stage II vapor recovery systems. (And don't top off.)
- Maintain your vehicle. Get a tune-up at the beginning of each summer.
- Minimize lawn mower emissions. Tune up your lawn mower and use electric or hand-powered equipment if possible.
- Limit use of solvent-based household products. Use water-based or low solvent paints, varnishes, cleaners and personal care products.
- Limit barbecue emissions. Use an electric starter instead of lighter fluid to start charcoal fires, or use an electric, natural gas or propane grill.